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energy efficiency

Demand Response Primer

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I described how net zero sounds grand, it’s easy to do, but it doesn’t work to support the transition to a clean-energy grid. The reason is that everyone, whether utilities or customers, overproduces simultaneously, and then later, customers all need energy from thermal power plants simultaneously. We have an exploding deficit of customers to take that overproduction and shift load or store it for use when intermittent renewable supplies shut down. In Renewables at Scale, I described how renewable supply and batteries would never be sufficient. The gaps in intermittent renewable supply are too big for batteries to...
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Cure Net Zero with Demand Response

By Energy Rant No Comments
I lambasted net zero many times, one time calling it an unserious weapon against climate change. Why is that? We’re going to see in this post. What is net zero? Simply, it is a building or property that produces as much renewable energy on-site as it consumes, typically over a year. Some utilities claim their net zero trophies for producing as much renewable energy as their customers buy. Why is Net Zero a Con? To answer this question in one word; exports. When a property or utility generates more electricity than it consumes, it must be exported to someone else....
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Utility Relationships and Hookup Puns

By Energy Rant No Comments
I attended Peak Load Management Alliance’s 45th Conference in Baltimore last week, where I captured a quote that went something like this: the difference between energy efficiency and demand response is that demand response is a relationship between utility and customer. In contrast, efficiency is a transaction or two followed by the customer and utility parting ways. I thought, hmm, so it’s like renting an apartment versus a hotel for a night or two – or a long-term relationship where two people actually know each other’s names versus a hookup. Ok. Hookups Most of us reading this cannot relate to...
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Save the Ships

Save the Ships for the Energy Transition

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m not a casino gambler because I know who wins. I learned long ago that a stock is worth what the next guy will pay for it – nothing more and nothing less. Bad news is good news, and good news is bad. It’s entirely unpredictable. For example: Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Two hundred thousand jobs were added last month, well short of the 500,000 expected increase.” CNBC: “That was a horrible jobs report today!” Stock Market: “Hurray! The Fed won’t raise interest rates,” and the market climbs two percentage points. Commodities have more intrinsic value than securities, and therefore,...
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Wild Energy Ride

Next Up: A Wild Energy Ride

By Energy Rant One Comment
It has been a frothy year for the energy industry, and it will continue well into next year and beyond. How far? Heh heh. Let’s start with coal. After plummeting 30% in 2020, consumption bounced back, gaining 35% in 2021. Doing the math, that doesn’t quite get coal back to 2019 consumption. Coal plants are still closing at a breakneck pace, so consumption in the United States is bound to decline in the long haul, but will load balancers and utilities be able to keep the lights on in 2030? This is a concern to me because no source of...
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Fork in the Road

Middle Actors Take the Fork, Customers Take the Change

By Energy Rant No Comments
When I stick my neck out, it’s often nice to discover others are on board to slow down the machete. I stash potential topics in an electronic pile, and when something triggers a need, I’m ready to go. This time, a co-presenter triggered me as I was delivering an electrification presentation for the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute’s Utilities Basics Course. The co-presenter was Erin Monroe-Nye, who discussed and provided the essentials of energy efficiency programs. Erin described a scenario in which she wanted to install a cold-weather heat pump. She got resistance and a runaround from her HVAC contractor. I...
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GEBs The Final Chapter – Baby Steps!

By Energy Rant No Comments
This is my sixth and final post on Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs), including the great interview with Doug Scott (#5) of the Great Plains Institute. This week, I will wrap up with a mishmash of items in the DOE’s GEB Roadmap. As I start this wrap-up, what I wrote three years ago comes to mind - How About Some D in DSM? Here is the gist as it applies to GEBs today: I have always found it interesting that “demand-side management,” the term that is generally used synonymously with energy efficiency programs, includes virtually no demand management whatsoever. The term...
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energy rant with doug scott

Special Rant Vlog with Performance-Based Ratemaking Guru, Doug Scott

By Energy Rant, Featured Energy Rant No Comments
This week, we’re continuing our discussion on GEBs (Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings) with our special guest Doug Scott. Doug is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Great Plains Institute and is a great resource for performance-based ratemaking which is a key component of GEBs for both customers and utilities. Check out our fun conversation with Doug!
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image of a group of buildings

Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings Part 4: Utilities Ask, Why?

By Energy Rant No Comments
This is the fourth in a series of posts on grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs). Here is a summary of the series: August 23 – Why GEBs? What is it, and why do it? August 31 – GEBs are difficult to achieve, beyond efficiency that should be done regardless. September 7 – What will customers think of this madness? Let’s peek at where we’ve been and where we are going. This series is based on a list of challenges noted in DOE's National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: Consumer awareness (Covered 07SEP21) Complexity (Covered 31AUG21) Utility interests (Today) Regulatory models Policymaker...
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NTG

Socially Undesirable Net Savings

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’ve never been a parent to humans, but as I say to friends and companions, I was a child once, and I did have parents. Moreover, I’ve supervised and had dozens of people report up to me directly or indirectly. Plus, I love kid stories, so I may be more uh, qualified or knowledgeable than some prospective thirty-year-olds who are about to take the plunge. Sleep up, my friends! Similarly, I have many roles in the utility-led efficiency business, conceptualizing, developing, delivering, and evaluating efficiency programs. I’m an engineer and not a social scientist but see above with the parent...
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